‘Daesh Defectors May be Undercover Operatives’ Trying to Attack Europe

Saturday, April 29, 2017
By Paul Martin


A growing number of foreign fighters are depleting the ranks of the Daesh terrorist group, as its self-proclaimed caliphate turns into shambles. There were reports that at least two British nationals and one US citizen has recently left the group and surrendered to Turkish border police.

Meanwhile, dozens more were reportedly caught in the past few weeks, as they tried to cross the border. There are also an unknown number of fighters who are thought to have evaded capture and made it across the border into Turkey.

Such a development comes as the Daesh’s capacity to hold ground in Syria and Iraq continues to collapse.

Radio Sputnik spoke with Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi, a research fellow at the Middle East Forum NGO.

“This is not a new thing that the foreign fighters want to leave the Islamic State [Daesh] and it comes due to a variety of reasons. One reason is the military pressure that the group has faced. With that pressure, comes a reduction in benefits to the fighters. Also they might have realized that life under the terrorists isn’t what they thought it would be,” al-Tamimi said.

He further said that for now it seems like it is mostly common foot soldiers who are trying to leave.

“The leadership is perhaps more committed to fight towards the end and is prepared to accept a post loss of territory where you revert to some kind of insurgency state,” the analyst said.

Talking about what kind of danger the deserters can pose after they return home, al-Tamimi said that some of them are leaving because they are genuinely afraid of being prosecuted for their crimes. While there are others that pretend to have left Daesh but may still be pledging allegiance to the group.

“They could, in fact, be undercover operatives for the Islamic State attempting to conduct attacks in Europe for example,” the analyst said.

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